As you may have noticed I’ve been pretty tardy on my blog over the summer. The joint pressures of finishing off various “it must be done by the end of the academic year” kind of projects, moving house and taking a couple of weeks of off the grid camping holiday have all conspired against me adding the usual mix of links, opinions and occasional bits of comment. Normal service will be resumed presently. I’ve been thinking about all sorts of posts as I’ve been up to other stuff over the holidays so watch this space for various leftfield thoughts prompted by things that I’ve been up to.
I’ve only just got back and will return to work properly tomorrow – so I’m going to spend some time trying to wade through the email lake that awaits me before returning to the blog later today or tomorrow. I hope that my absence from the blogosphere won’t have turned anyone off of the blog.
Thanks for waiting!
Like most other parents I’ve spent the summer juggling kids, work, holidays and various other bits and pieces. In some ways this isn’t really any different from any other time, but the length of the summer holidays, the long days and the essential appeal of sitting out in the sun means that, for me at least, during the summer the see-saw of my work-life balance tips in an interesting and unfamiliar direction.
Most of the time, work fills up most of my life. This isn’t to say I don’t spend time with my family or do anything else. But the 5 X 8 hours discipline of the working week means that I simply spend more time at work than I do doing any other thing. What is more I frequently slop outside of the 8 hours, finishing up things that “need doing”, checking email and so on. What is more I like it, I’m not someone who has a strict distinction between work and play and most of the time I’m happy to be working. I find it difficult to leave work behind and often find that something that the kids have said or I’ve seen on the TV sparks some work-related idea.
However, during the summer, because of holidays and child care responsibilities work has to take a back seat. Consequently I fill my days with other things which I start to find just as interesting as work. Projects with the kids absorb me, the challenge of existing in a tent for a week engages me, I read fiction again, the guitar comes out for the first time for ages, I think about learning to Lindy Hop and so on. I don’t do nothing very well, but I do find it easy to throw my self into something or indeed anything.
Inevitably this leads me towards reflection. Do I really love what I do as much as I think? Would a career change be more interesting? For about five minutes last week I contemplated running off to join the circus after a morning failing to learn how to walk on a circus ball and do a Diablo. More realistically I fantasise about balancing my work and play differently so that I can devote Thursdays to learning the tremolo harp or Friday’s to running a counter-cultural happening.
So where does all of this reflective daydreaming lead me? In all honesty, probably nowhere. In fact, probably straight back to work. What I’ve recognised about myself in the past, and what this reminds me, is that I don’t have a vocation. I can be happy (and sad) doing a pretty wide variety of stuff. I throw myself into things and try and push them as far as I can. Career is a lived experience – it is about making something meaningful of your life experiences. It is hardly surprising if holidays, in which your lived experiences are radically different from the rest of your life can make you rethink and seek alternative narratives.
I seek creativity, progression, social engagement and the vain hope of doing some good in the world around me (oh and money of course). If I can find that I’ll probably keep on keeping on. If I can’t you might just find me working up a juggling act in Ibiza.
I’ve just had a week or so of leave and so I haven’t been updating the blog a regularly as before. However, I’m now back, in a hotel in Toronto and raring to go. However, I’ve got a few posts backed up in my note book that I’m going to throw up on the blog over the next few days.
In the meantime here are some pictures from my week off to keep you in a Canadian mood.
I’ve been off on holiday for a couple of weeks. Phone and laptop turned off. I haven’t written anything or communicated with the outside world durning this time. I have been thinking and reading however. I’ve also be cycling, swimming and generally having fun. Holiday’s have much to recommend them I believe.
I’m now back. Normal blogging etc services will be resumed over the next couple of days.
I’m off on holiday for a week or so. For the sake of my general sanity I
won’t be taking the computer with me so I’ll be blogless for the next
little while. Enjoy this picture of the sea while I’m gone. I’ll be enjoying the real